We live to foster an Indiana where the limit of Hoosier possibility is unbound from geography.  Where a statewide fabric of thriving local communities lay the foundation for all Hoosiers to achieve lives of personal fulfillment.


In Flipping Finance Challenge 2019, we will convene Hoosiers with diverse skills and subject matter expertise in one collaborative environment to create solutions to complex local challenges.


Indiana Bond Bank’s first ever Flipping Finance Challenge, a public-finance focused innovation summit.

Introducing Indiana Bond Bank’s first ever Public Finance Challenge, an event that utilizes crowdsourcing, or the practice of engaging a group for a common goal through innovation and problem solving.  The goal of Flipping Finance is to provide organizations with access to new ideas and solutions, deeper consumer engagement, opportunities for co-creation, optimization of tasks, and reduced costs.  The inaugural 2019 Flipping Finance Challenge featured the Eastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission and the City of Gary who prepared a set of challenges to bring to FFC2019’s participants.  The Town of McCordsville joined FFC2019 with a wildcard challenge also presented below.







First Place: Robert Dunning

Second Place: Ingrid Arreola & Eugene Lee


First Place: Pete Brown

Second Place: Yang Li


First Place: Brett Fischl, Jacob Cloran, Daniel Cloran

Second Place: Tomena Some & Nick Benedict


First Place: Corey Nation

Second Place:  Erin McCord & Shawn Whistler



In order to be successful in developing a solution to one of the challenges below, attendees are strongly encouraged to choose a specific challenge within the tracks below well ahead of the 18 hour design-sprint and use the resources provided to obtain as much background and research information as possible.


City of Gary Challenge: “Right-Size the City to Reduce Financial Impact of Low-Density and Inactive Areas

The City of Gary’s public, residential and business activity has gone through several changes in composition in relation to its geographical boundaries over the year.  Gary’s geographical boundaries measure approximately 58 square miles with a population of approximately 76,000.  Comparatively, Boston Massachusetts, has a geographical footprint of approximately 89 square miles but a population of approximately 685,000.  This composition has resulted in areas of very low-density within the City of Gary limits that still require extensive government resources to maintain. For example, the Public Works Department has only 27 public-facing employees responsible for all the road miles of the streets.


Teams Can Form Around
  • Identify ways that the City of Gary might repurpose active and inactive plots of land within the city limits while maintaining those boundaries as to not lose critical assessed value to the city.
  • Any other solution which addresses this


Relevant Resources: 

City of Gary Challenge:: Matching Housing Stock Availability with Targeted Populations

The City of Gary has an abundance of available housing stock that has the potential to meet the needs of certain demographic segments.   The challenge is identifying which populations should be targeted and through what avenue.   For example, would Chicago area retirees without children in the household be a better fit for the existing housing stock considering they do not have school age children (and thus do not have to consider Gary Public Schools?

Teams Can Form Around
  • Leveraging IoT to create a vacant property clearing house


  • Which populations would be best be targeted for the existing housing stock


  • Creating a “clearinghouse/matchmaker” tool that matches certain populations with housing stock


  • Any other solution which addresses this challenge


Relevant Resources:

City of Gary Challenge: Growth without Gentrification

Attracting New Residents to Gary without Compromising Housing for “Legacy Residents”

As the city seeks to grow its residency base by attracting new costumers to existing and potential housing stock, the city also maintains a priority that “Legacy Residents” not be displaced by new and incoming residents and rising prices in residential properties.  Legacy Residents are considered to be those who were born and raised in the City of Gary.


Teams Can Form Around
  • Continue to grow its residency base without gentrification of current residents


  • Meeting the needs of an aging population while building resources that attract a younger generation


  • Any other solution which addresses this


Relevant Resources:

City of Gary Challenge: How Might the City of Gary Manage, Maintain, and Preserve the Native Ecology of the area while growing?
Teams Can Form Around
  • Identifying the local ecology of the area and how planning efforts could be harmful


  • Create a solution that allows for growth without compromising the valuable ecology in Gary


  • Any other solution which addresses this

Relevant Resources:  See main resource page.

EIRPC Challenge: Move-In Ready Housing & Quality of Building Stock

#2A: Creating Move-In Ready Housing at the Heart of the City

Richmond desires to create housing in the downtown quadrant (see map) which is ‘move-in ready’, as in, does not require more than cosmetic repairs.  Many of the existing living opportunities in downtown Richmond require extensive rehab for livability and safety. 

#2B: Rapidly Triaging Buildings Which Become Vacant to Prevent Deterioration

One of several obstacles preventing ‘move-in ready’ development are buildings which have deteriorated after a time period of being vacant.  While these buildings can be rehabilitated to prepare for move-in ready development, the worse the deterioration, the more time and money it takes. 

#2C: The Townsend Townhomes and Townsend Scholar House

This project, as envisioned, would provide subsidized housing for 40 to 50 families while the head of household is attending post-secondary education in pursuit of a credential or degree leading to a good-paying job.  The Townsend Scholar House component of the project would involve redevelopment of the historic Townsend Center into a community center capable of providing supportive services to the Townhomes residents that will help them be successful in their educational pursuits. 


Relevant Resources:  Housing Study, Demographic Snapshot, City of Richmond Map, Townsend Townhomes and Scholar House documentation from the Richmond Housing Authority

EIRPC Challenge: Connecting Trail Systems Throughout the Region

With trail systems being a major attraction to many communities throughout Indiana, the Region would benefit in leveraging its unique 5-county partnership to create multi-county trails.  Like many rural areas, the region is faced with the difficulty of competing with urban areas that seem to be the most attractive to funders.  The Region is challenged with leveraging its robust trail mileage to obtain funding that will connect the trails throughout the region.


Relevant Resources:  EIRPC Stellar Application

EIRPC Challenge: Creating a Regional Development Authority

The Region would like to determine whether it is financially feasible to create a Regional Development Authority within the EIRPC area in order to implement projects. 


Relevant Resources: Indiana code on Regional Development Authorities; examples of other RDA’s

Town of McCordsville Challenge: Mitigating Traffic Congestion at the Intersection of Mt. Comfort Road and SR67

The Town of McCordsville is a small (approx. pop. 7,500), but very fast-growing community as the 3rd fastest growing municipality in the state.  The growth of theTown, and of the surrounding area, has contributed to a significant traffic congestion problem.  The pinch-point of this congestion is on Mt. Comfort Road at its adjacent intersections with SR 67 and the CSX railroad tracks.  This portion of Mt. Comfort Rd. sees in excess of 13,000 vehicles a day.  The intersection of Mt. Comfort & SR 67 pushes through in excess of 25,000 vehicles a day. Clearly the volume of traffic being produced is by more than just McCordsville.  This is a regional traffic issue in which a solution outside of bond issuance is necessary.


Relevant Resources: Town of McCordsville Challenge Statement, Urban Land Institute Report


EIRPC Challenge: Attracting Market-Rate Housing Developers to the Region

During the past year, Purdue University’s Center for Regional Development and Ball State University’s Indiana Communities Institute have both conducted assessments of the Region’s demographic and economic statistics that confirm our collective perceptions.  For our Region to prosper, we must improve its Quality of Place to insure our ability to attract new residents and to keep our current citizens.  A major piece to attracting residents to our region is the development of new housing stock. 


More specifically, EIRPC seeks to make the area more attractive to market rate developers as more than 50% of the current housing stock was built prior to 1960 and much of it needs significant renovation.    The region is currently challenged with attracting developers to build quality and affordable single-family houses in the $100,000 to $200,000 price range in order to attract and retain talent for the regional workforce


Relevant Resources:  Housing Study, Demographic Snapshot, Regional Planning Directors Housing Recommendations, Regional Development Plan

EIRPC Challenge: Creating a Tourism/Visitation Marketing Tool(s) for the Region

The Eastern Indiana Region currently boasts numerous attractions including restaurants, shopping, trails, destinations, parks, bodies of water, etc.   The Region needs a digital, user-friendly, database driven tool to make these attractions visible, engaging, informative and easily accessible to both visitors and current residents. 


One challenge that would be specifically beneficial, is a region-wide application that maps out the area’s destinations and means to access them, along with enabling descriptive content, photos, possible video snippets, digital mapping and other trending digital tools to make the application engaging and interactive with the user.


Relevant Resources:  See main resource page.

City of Gary Challenge: Strengthening the City of Gary’s Capital Planning Processes

The City of Gary has identified opportunities to improve the capacity and processes in which its capital planning is carried out. Gary would like to make changes strategically rather than by necessity, such as when vehicles break down or IT systems become outdated.  The following have been identified as strategic priorities regarding the improvement of the capital planning process.

Teams Can From Around
  •  Ability to regularly update the fleet of the:
    • Police Department
    •  Fire Department
    • Public Works Department


  • Creating a fleet management plan


  • Capital planning for Facility Maintenance:
    • 7 Fire Stations
    • 8 Active Pavilions
    • 6 Inactive Pavilions
    • 1 Port Facility


  • Capital planning for Implementation of new IT system and/or planning for lifecycle IT changes.


  • Any other solution which addresses this


Relevant Resources:  

City of Gary Challenge: Addressing Negative Perceptions of Gary

The City of Gary has an extensive and rich history known both around Indiana and across the United States.  The City acknowledges that along with the positive perceptions that accompany Gary, there are several negative perceptions that exist surrounding the city as well.  The City of Gary has made it a priority to dispel any misstated facts and perceptions that exist, however, it is not uncommon to hear that the following perceptions still exist among both residents and non-residents.


“Gary is corrupt.  Gary is crime-ridden. Gary’s only economic offerings are in relation to the steel industry.

The ‘Oh that’s just Gary’ response to anything negative or potentially negative”


Beyond merely wishing people felt differently about them, these negative perceptions have real-life consequences for City of Gary.   Economic impacts include  limited access to capital or higher costs of capital, reduced willingness of people to partner, and adverse political impacts legislatively.

Teams Can Form Around
  • Creating a solution in which any myths about the City are dispelled and the facts that surround those misperceptions are promoted and attract investors to the area


  • Creating a solution that helps resident adopt an “I love my city” mentality


  • Any other solution which addresses this


Relevant Resources:

City of Gary Challenge: How might the City of Gary Standardize Deployment of General Services

The City of Gary has a limited team of workers to carry out all general service responsibilities. Gary has found that the quality of the work product and the customer service offered is inconsistent, and highly dependent on the individual performing the job.  Gary aspires to have all its general services employees deliver a high-quality, high-customer service, consistent customer experience.  Residents have the same expectations for quality service regardless of the Gary employee who delivers the service.

Teams Can Form Around
  • Standardizing the deployment of general services


  • Creating an incentive or performance system that assists Gary employees with providing high-level service


  • Creating a performance standard for services


  • Any other solution which addresses the challenge


Relevant Resources:


EIRPC Challenge: Increasing Broadband and High-Speed Internet Access and Availability in the Region

Like many rural areas, this region faces challenges of obtaining of access to broadband and high-speed internet services.  Currently, the lack of broadband in the area affects the Region’s ability to attract new industries and the accompanying workforce talent.  It also tends to limit the ability of school children to participate in E-Learning days when school is closed due to inclement weather, as well as current residents to remain in the region while attending online college.


The Region is challenged with creating the processes necessary to implement a Broadband Ready Community certification by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation in a format that is identical or nearly so across the entire Region.


Relevant Resources: EIRPC Stellar Application, IEDC- Broadband Ready Community Certification

EIRPC Challenge: Exploring Regional Transportation Niches

The Region would like to assess current alternative fuel transportation opportunities, as well as needs in the next 10-20 years. 

The Region would like to become a rural hub for smart and alternative fuel transportation in the area.  The Region currently hosts the only two electric car charging stations between Indianapolis and Cincinnati, an amenity/necessity which has made it a stopping point for travelers with e-vehicles.  Should charging stations be expanded?  Are there other alternative fuel opportunities that should be explored?  Compressed Natural Gas for example? 

Relevant Resources:

EIRPC Challenge: Becoming a Region of “Intelligent Communities”

Like any community in the United States, the Region understands that for it to attract new businesses and residents to the area, it must be flexible and agile to the needs of the technology industry.  The Region is challenged with (especially as rural communities) becoming agile enough to make it an attractive destination for tech related companies.


The Region is interested in ideas tapping into the Internet of Things.  The Region is interested in ideas which build upon the electric vehicle charging platform referenced in Challenge #6.


Relevant Resources: “Intelligent Communities” plans for Union City and Richmond

City of Gary Challenge: Becoming a “Smart Region” and National Transportation Hub

Like any community in the United States, the City of Gary understands that for it to attract new businesses and residents to the area, it must be flexible and agile to the needs of the technology industry.  Gary has several resources that would make it an attractive destination as a national transportation hub including potential for water, rail, and air transportation.

Teams Can Form Around
  • Positioning Gary as a pilot center for driverless trucks, cars, various vehicles.


  • Transforming Gary into a National Transportation Hub


  • Incorporating technology such as sensor-connected lights in buildings, streetlights, traffic lights, etc.


  • Any other solution which addresses this



Relevant Resources:


EIRPC Challenge: Meeting the Workforce’s needs for High Quality Day Care

This challenge exists for both current residents as well as potential incoming residents.  Daycare is predominantly provided by home-based providers.  The Region seeks to find solutions to meet the standards and ratings as laid out by FSSA’s Paths to QUALITY program including achievement among the 4 levels of quality and accreditation:


Level One: Health and safety needs of children met.

Level Two: Environment supports children’s learning.

Level Three: Planned curriculum guides child development and school readiness.

Level Four: National accreditation (the highest indicator of quality) is achieved.


The need for quality daycare is not an income driven problem and is experienced by all workers in the Region.  Aside from obtaining a Level Four accreditation, because of the region’s diverse workforce, there is a need for 24/7 daycare and emphasis on components of education.


Relevant Resources: Demographic Snapshot, Workforce Study, FSSA Paths to QUALITY

City of Gary Challenge: How Might the City of Gary Manage, Maintain, and Preserve the Native Ecology of the area while growing?
Teams Can Form Around
  • Identifying the local ecology of the area and how planning efforts could be harmful


  • Create a solution that allows for growth without compromising the valuable ecology in Gary


  • Any other solution which addresses this

Relevant Resources:  See main resource page.

City of Gary Challenge: How Might the City of Gary reduce the incidence of preventable diseases in Gary

City of Gary has a study which shows that Gary residents have a higher incidence of preventable diseases, such as Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease, than the national average.  In addition, portions of Gary are considered a food desert.  Gary sees these as factors which could detract from quality of place and quality of life for current and prospective residents.


Teams Can Form Around
  • Health or wellness solutions, tools, education


  • Fresh food attraction or strategy


  • Other quality of life initiatives


  • Any other solution which addresses this


Relevant Resources: Coming Soon

What is the Flipping Finance Challenge?

Mark Wuellner, Executive Director

Official Teaser Flipping Finance 2019

Indiana Bond Bank

Thank you to our sponsors!!!